P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Badal blasts Central govt move on minorities
Rejects theory of two-party system
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Maqsudran (Ludhiana), May 12
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today took strong exception to the move of the union government to deprive the minorities in the country of their legitimate status. “This is a highly thoughtless move, and one that can drive the country into an unnecessary but dangerous strife. It must be dropped.”

Badal also criticised the increasing attempts to further erode the remnants of federalism in the country’s polity. He said the Centre had been increasingly nibbling away at the already meager sources of states' revenue despite the fact that the union government had no role to play in micro development of the states. Nor did it have any tools to assess the needs of the people at the grounds level.

“Only the states knew it and that was because the states actually dealt with the day to day problems of the people while the Centre merely took a distant view of things.”

The Chief Minister dismissed the idea of a two-party system as “irrelevant to a country of India’s diversity”.

“The only way to justify this highly provocative move was to declare the states as entirely autonomous federal provinces with the Centre having no say in any of the domestic areas. Only if the states enjoy complete autonomy can you consider them as independent units for the purpose of determining and bestowing the status of minorities on the groups concerned.

“So long as we live in a single country, we can only talk about minorities in the country on the whole,” said Badal.

The move would actually mean the Sikhs would be not be a minority even in Punjab and all protection and safeguards enjoyed by them as a national minority would go.

The Chief Minister appealed to the union government to reconsider this “highly irresponsible and inflammable move”.

Badal said the question of what constitutes the first war of Independence must be viewed keeping in mind unprecedented sacrifices made by the Sikhs to the cause of country’s liberation. He said even Congress leaders like Madan Mohan Malvia and Maulana Azad had recorded that 70 per cent of sacrifices in the freedom struggle were made by Punjabis alone.

Adarsh school for Maqsudran

Badal today announced the setting up of an 8-acre “adarsh” school in NRI-dominated Maqsudran village. The school, to which the government committed Rs 1 crore from the state exchequer, would be built with public-private participation.

Badal was addressing a function on the premises of recently inaugurated complex of the school built by the NRI brothers Harry Gill and Avtar Singh Gill.

Badal called upon the NRIs to participate in the Punjab government’s bid to revolutionise education in the state.

He said the concept of “adarsh” school was to provide education free of cost to the bright and poor students. The government had already set up three such schools at Khatkar Kalan, Tohra and Talwandi Sabo.

The Chief Minister said the government would soon approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up a judicial complex in Payal subdivision.

He also announced schemes of cleaning of ponds and water tanks under the centrally sponsored sanitation programme. The residents of the village will have to pay 5 per cent of the entire cost of cleaning and the remaining 95 per cent would be funded by the government. The road from Rara Sahib to Maloud and Payal to Bowani would be widened. He also announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the execution of different development works in the village.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Congress workers from 18 families of adjoining villages joined the SAD at the function.


Presidential Poll
SAD to go by NDA decision: CM
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Rajla (Patiala), May 12
The SAD will go by the decision of the NDA on the issue of the presidential election. A decision in this regard is likely to be taken at a meeting of the NDA soon.

This was stated by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while talking to The Tribune at the Circuit House here today.

He was here to attend the 17th death anniversary of former SAD MLA from Samana Hardial Singh Rajla who was killed in a terrorist attack while trying to save former SAD stalwart Gurbachan Singh Tohra.

On the issue raised by SAD MPs regarding the Anglo-Sikh war as the First War of Independence, Badal said he endorsed the views expressed by them. The Punjab had never got due credit for the sacrifices its people made for the nation. All major freedom struggles, including the gaddar and Kuka movements, originated in Punjab.

Keeping in view the sacrifices made by the people of Punjab during the freedom struggle, the national programme for celebrating the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence should have been held in Punjab.

Reacting to the victory of the BSP in the Uttar Pradesh elections, Badal said it was another indication that the regional parties were growing stronger.

Despite efforts of the entire Gandhi family, the Congress managed to get just 21 seats in UP. If that was the performance of the Congress in UP, the biggest state of the country, it should acknowledge the fact that there was no future without the regional parties.

Later, addressing a rally at the village, the Chief Minister called Rajla a martyr.

He accused the previous Congress government of ignoring the farmers of the state.

Minister for cooperative Kanwaljit Singh alleged that the previous Congress government had left a huge financial burden on the state.

Surjeet Singh Rakhra, Harmail Singh Tohra and Kirpal Singh Badungar were among SAD leaders present at the rally.

Police not to raid chemists on its own

Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has curtailed the powers of the police to raid the premises of chemists.

Talking to The Tribune at the Circuit House here this morning, the Chief Minister said a delegation of the State Chemist Association met him today and alleged harassment by the police.

“I directed the police that in future they should not raid the premises of chemists on its own,” he said.

The police has been directed that it has to take along a member of the association and at least a medical officer with it while conducting a raid on a medicine shop, he added.

“I have also urged the association to exercise self-discipline. The menace of psychotropic drug abuse among the youth of the state is a matter of concern and the government is taking it seriously,” the Chief Minister said.


Challan to declare Dimpa a PO soon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
A challan for declaring Jasbir Singh Dimpa, former Congress MLA of Beas, would soon be produced in a court.

Disclosing this to mediapersons here today, SSP (rural) Iqbal Singh said a challan had already been filed in the court against the other accused. The SSP said the police department had also got the CD in the poll violence case tested from a laboratory. It was found to be genuine.

Dimpa was among 14 persons booked on the charge of killing Akali worker Dilbagh Singh on January 29. He had gone underground soon after the completion of election process in Beas constituency. On the recommendation of a special investigation team (SIT), the police had initiated process to declare the four absconding accused in the case as proclaimed offenders.

The SSP said the video footage of the Beas violence case, on the basis of which the election was postponed to March 11, did not show the involvement of Dimpa’s brother Harmanbir Singh Gill, at present SP (Traffic), Chandigarh.

The CIA wing of the police would be strengthened in the border district to check the smuggling of narcotics and fake currency.


Nearly 100 PCS officers needed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The Punjab government is facing a shortage of officers for field posting.

While there has been no fresh recruitment of officers for years, several new districts have been created in the state in the past few years.

Sources said a large number of posts of officer were vacant at the “cutting edge” in various parts of the state. For instance, several posts of agriculture development officer were vacant in the Bathinda region. Likewise, important posts of PCS officer were vacant in Mansa district.

The sources said there was need to recruit at least 100 PCS (executive branch) officers to meet the staff shortage at this level.

No fresh recruitment of PCS officers under the direct quota has been made for some years. In fact, following the unearthing of a scam with regard to the recruitment of PCS and other officers in the Punjab public service commission, no fresh recruitment has been made under the direct quota.

Asked to comment in this regard, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said he had asked the officials concerned to assess the requirement of PCS officers.

“We will certainly go in for fresh recruitment once we make the assessment”, said Ramesh Inder Singh.

He said already Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had asked various departments to fill vacant posts.


Residents could taste freedom for two days only
Ludhiana was fined Rs 55,294 for revolting in 1857
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
Residents of Ludhiana district suffered a fine of Rs 55,294 for participating in the 1857 revolt. Common citizens, including migrant tribes, could, however, taste freedom for two days only.

Eminent writers like Kaye and Malleson, Aziz-ur-Rehman and V.D. Savarkar, besides the reports of the then Ludhiana deputy commissioner G.H.M. Ricketts, Punjab Government Records and Ludhiana Gazetteer have given the details of the mood of people and conditions prevailing at that time.

The revolt did take place, albeit late on June 8 and 9, 1857. The rebellion, in fact, did not arise from the city. The local inhabitants - Kabul pensioners, Kashmiri shawl workers, Gujjars, Baurias and other predatory races - were weak and not united. Though the number of the British force was not large, it required the rebels from Jalandhar and Phillaur to raise the banner against colonialism in this part of Punjab.

Sensing trouble in May, Ricketts sent the treasure to the Phillaur fort to lodge it under the security of Her Majesty’s 8th Footforce. He was concerned as he had at his disposal a weak force of the 3rd Native Infantry consisting of 130 men of all ranks.

The British force began patrolling the borders of the district during night. The worst fears of the Britishers were regarding the possible revolt from native soldiers. Historians have recorded that though there were rebellious elements among the native soldiers, yet they could not come together and plan something drastic against the rulers.

The mutineers from Jalandhar and Phillaur had meanwhile, started collecting near the Sutlej.

As expected a fierce encounter ensued with the mutineers. In spite of being in small number, the rebels outwitted the Britishers in all departments and killed many.

“Then, the mutinous regiments, no longer obstructed or opposed, swept on to Ludhiana on June 9, 1857,” records Ludhiana Gazetteer.

On their entrance into the city, the native soldiers formerly fighting for the Britishers joined them. Soon the local citizens - the Kashmiris, Gujjars, Syuds, Mohammadens and Kabulis - joined the revolt. Several British officers and their families were killed. The mutineers were in total control of the district.

Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir, who worked up anti-British feelings against the colonial rule, led the locals.

The excitement and celebrations, however, could last for 48 hours only. In their haste to leave Jalandhar, the mutineers had taken more blank cartridges with them instead of the balled cartridges. Whatever fit ammunition they had was soon used and thus in the absence of proper planning the mutineers were rendered helpless to save themselves.

According to the book, History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, written by Kaye and Malleson, the strategic mistake of the mutineers of facing shortage of the ammunition brought their downfall.

The success of the mutineers in the city could have changed the course of the revolt.

V.D. Savarkar argued that had the mutineers managed to hold the Ludhiana fort, it would had been a great strategic and moral advantage.


Glory of once flourishing trade centre to be revived
Tourism dept plans to break the jinx of Jajon
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

The town of Jajon is a perfect example of how changing trade routes decide the fate of an area. As per popular belief, no one now wants to take the name of the town in the morning as it is considered inauspicious. People fear that doing so would bring misfortune for them.

Patiala, May 12
The jinxed town of Jajon in Hoshiarpur district might see the hustle and bustle it was used to in the last century. The department of tourism,Punjab, will send a proposal to the Centre to revive the town from the tourism angle.

Geetika Kalha, principal secretary, tourism, gave this information while talking to The Tribune here.

Giving the details, she said besides assistance from the government , the department would seek the help of owners of old houses in the town.“If the owners of the old houses who have now migrated to other areas can make them suitable for living, the government can exploit the tourism potential of the area”, she said.

The town of Jajon is a perfect example of how changing trade routes decide the fate of an area. As per popular belief, no one now wants to take the name of the town in the morning as it is considered inauspicious.People fear that doing so would bring misfortune for them.

Jajon once was one of the most flourishing trade centres of the area. The ruins of the town, located in a remote area of Hoshiarpur district, illustrate its glory in its heyday. Large multistoreyed houses, well-laid streets, a railway station and a planned market were the features that made it a flourishing trade centre. But now most of the grand buildings are in bad shape following the migration of the owners to other areas.

The town is located on a hillock on the banks of a rivulet. Nobody in the area remembers when it was established. However, many residents inform that it was a big trade centre. The traders then were wholesalers. They used to supply clothes, foodgrains and other necessary items to the hill areas. The goods were carried from the town on horses and mules to areas as far as Manali.

It brought prosperity to Jajon.Each house had its own well. Leading business families had large houses with rooms for the stay of the traders who came there on foot from the hill areas. The biggest house that still exists in the town has about 100 rooms.

Due to the flourishing trade, the town had a municipal council even before Partition.However, the changing transportation system and improved road links to the hill areas affected the trade.Following this, most of the residents migrated to other areas and Jajon became ‘jinxed’.The trade and population declined so much that in 1954 it was converted into a village panchayat instead of a municipal council.


BJP releases office-bearers’ list
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
President of the Punjab unit of the BJP Rajinder Bhandari today announced the list of party office-bearers for the state.

While districts like Ferozepore and Jalandhar have got the lion’s share, Bathinda, Patiala, Mansa, Sangrur, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Mohali and Ropar have not been given any representation on the state body. “ Non-representation to various districts will hit the party’s endeavour to enlarge its base in the state”, said a party observer.

Vijay Sampla, Vinod Sharma, Surjit Jyani, Manjit Singh Rai and Virender Kaur Thandi have been taken as vice-presidents of the state unit. Prashant Arora has been made the organising secretary and Ashwani Kumar and Kamal Sharma general secretaries.

Anil Sarin, Subash Bhateja, Rakesh Rathore, Rakesh Gill and Rajender Mohan Singh Chheena have been made secretaries and Bal Krishan Mittal the treasurer.

Bhandari said while some old faces had been retained, some new ones had been brought in. All sections had been given representation.

When asked why SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal did not mention the BJP while explaining the development agenda of the government a few days ago, Bhandari said it was the SAD’s own press conference.


Front condemns move against minorities
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
The Indian Minorities and Dalit Front has here today condemned the reported move of the union government to make amendments in the Constitution in order to deprive the minorities in the country of their legitimate status.

National president of the front Sewa Singh Sekhwan said the move would corrupt the democratic system, as the political parties would get the right to make changes in the minority status by passing a Bill in Parliament.

He said, as per the Constitution, minority communities had the right to get reservation in educational institutions. But if the move came through, this reservation would also be scrapped, as the identification of the minority communities would become a state subject, with different status to a community in every state.

For instance, he said, a percentage of seats were reserved for Sikh students in the colleges run by the SGPC. If the Bill was passed, this benefit would be withdrawn.

A seminar would soon be organised by the front in Amritsar to discuss the issue, he said.


Women opposing female foeticide to get protection
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
Health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla has urged women “not to serve” their addicted kin at home. She also announced that any schoolchildren, who would provide information about smugglers and persons involved in female foeticide, would be given education free of cost for one year.

* Free education for children informing about smugglers, foeticide cases.

* All 13 posts of drug inspector to be filled by June.

* Sifarish culture in health department to go.

The minister, who was here today to preside over a function organised jointly by the district police and the health authorities at the local Police Public School, urged the women that they should fight the evil of female foeticide and drug addiction. The women, opposing the practice of female foeticide, would be given protection by the government.

She urged the schoolchildren to wage a war against drug addiction and female foeticide on the scale of the movement launched by Shaheed Bhagat Singh and other patriots against the British rule.

Urging the police to set up a police help line to receive information in connection with female foeticide and drug addiction, she said owing to fall in the ratio of girls, the incidence of crime like rape and kidnapping was on the rise.

The health minister said corruption and the “sifarish culture” had created a mess in the health department. The state government was committed to making it a thing of the past, she asserted.

The government had decided to set up three trauma centres in the state. A major cancer hospital would be set up, the approval for which had been granted by the Chief Minister.

Regarding vacant posts, she said all 13 posts of drug inspector would be filled by June and all government hospitals would get senior medical officers (SMOs) within a week.

She announced a Rs 2-lakh grant for the library of the school.

Faridkot range DIG Jatinder Jain also spoke.

Earlier, the minister, along with Jain and schoolchildren, brunt the narcotics, which had been seized by the police in the past few months.


‘Officials shielding culprits’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May12
Around 20 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have alleged that officials of the health department have been shielding the persons involved in the practice of female foeticide. These NGOs have demanded legal action against the officials.

In a memorandum, which was submitted to health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, the representatives of the NGOs have urged her to appoint district magistrate as district appropriate authority in place of civil surgeons under the PNDT Act.


Biggest-ever seizure of intoxicants in Mansa
Tribune News service

Mansa, May 12
In its campaign launched against the sale of drugs, the district police achieved a major success when it managed to make biggest-ever seizure of intoxicants to the tune of about 10 lakh tablets in a one-day operation in this town that came to an end late last night.

Apart from seizing the intoxicating tablets, the police teams, accompanied by drug inspector and a doctor of the local Police Lines, also recovered 4,736 capsules, 8,763 injections and 893 cough syrups from chemist shops and their godowns which were raided.

Feeling elated over the success of the police, SSP Ram Singh had decided to give commendation certificates to all 65 policemen, who were involved in the operation. He added that all three teams were put under the supervision of the DSP. The teams also included four officers of the rank of Station House Officers (SHOs).

The SSP pointed out that total market value of the intoxicants, which were seized by three teams, was around Rs 6 lakh. He added that some of the drugs, which had been seized, fell in the category of banned drugs. Unscrupulous chemists had been purchasing the intoxicating drugs from various parts of Punjab and neighbouring Haryana state also.

Out of 10 shops raided, intoxicants drugs were seized from about five shops. A major part of seized drugs was made from a godown of the shop under the name of Mansa Medicos.

The drugs, which had been recovered from the five shops, had been sealed under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act. Legal proceedings had been launched against the licence holders, who were running those shops.

The tablets, which had been seized, included Memolit, Alprozelam, Phanodil, Microlit and equilam. The cough syrup included Rexcof, Recodex and Corex.


Single-handedly he is erecting Anglo-Sikh War memorial
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Pamal (Ludhiana), May 12
Successive governments in the state could not do anything to preserve the memory of the historic Anglo-Sikh War, fought 162 years ago, but a retired Army officer of Pamal village has taken the task of erecting a memorial to pay tributes to scores of unsung heroes.

Capt Amarjit Singh Sekhon (retd) is getting the memorial constructed with his resources. He has been fighting all odds to set up the memorial that will be a befitting tribute to the villagers, who had become heroes at that time.

The construction, started three years ago, is almost complete. The hall meant for the museum is named “Desh De Raakhe” by him.

“I will get the history of the war painted on the walls of the museum. It will depict the chronology and even the uneducated people will come to know about the battle. I hope the coming generations remember that a war was fought on this land,” he said.

Sekhon said he was disappointed to know that many people of his village did not know about the battle.

“Being a student of history, I used to ask the elders of the village about the war. But they could not tell me anything substantial. After joining the Army, I decided to set up the memorial,” he said.

Sekhon has constructed the memorial so strategically that he can always have a look at it sitting in the comforts of his house. He decided to erect it at Pamal, as he had a piece of agricultural land there.

The foundation stone on the memorial was laid on January 28, 1995, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the battle.

“I wanted to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war as a tribute to all those heroes, who died unsung and unknown. I started then and my dream is coming true,” he said.

He added that his budget was unlimited for the project and he would keep working for it till he was alive.

He has dedicated the memorial to Raja Ajit Singh Ladwa, who was held captive by Britishers after the war.

War memorials remain neglected

While a number of MPs have sought to accept the 1845 Anglo-Sikh war as the First War of Independence, several monuments, including an over 160-year-old monument, ‘Flame of Memory’, at Aliwal, lay abandoned, as a testimony to the claims of the first war.

Another monument erected by residents of Baddowal village at the entrance of the village stands as a memory to the first war. In spite of it being declared a protected monument in 1964 under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, the memorial is dying a slow death for want of proper care by the State Department of Archaeology and Conservation. No guard has been posted at the memorial and bricks have been pulled out from the monument.


Govt to fill 32,000 posts of teacher
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
The Punjab government will soon start the filling of 32,000 posts for teachers in the state to ensure that the quality of teaching did not suffer in the government schools due to the shortage of teachers.

This was stated by Bikram Singh Majithia, information and public relations, public health and sewerage minister here today. He said the government was also implementing the scheme to set up more model schools in the state.

He added that the government had finalised a plan of Rs 1,280 crore to provide clean-drinking water to all villages in the state for the next five years.

Majithia said the scheme would ensure a regular supply of drinking water in the far-flung areas and the water schemes would be maintained by the village panchayats.

The SAD-BJP alliance was committed to development and new schemes were being finalised, which would make up for the slow paced development during the previous Congress regime, he added.


Art of Living camps for students
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 12
The Art of Living Foundation will organise camps exclusively for students in educational institutions and at common places during the summer vacation to tell them that life is much more than daily routine...that it is more than just eating, drinking, sleeping, working and chatting.

Gauri Sharda, senior trainer of the Art of Living Foundation, said here today that the programme opened our eyes, mind and heart to how much more meaningful and complete our lives could be. In the changing social and academic scenario such camps tried to inculcate human values in the participants, she added.

Sharda was here to impart training to 75 citizens in the six-day camp that concludes tomorrow coinciding with the 51st birth anniversary of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the foundation.

Claiming the foundation was an humanitarian voluntary organisation, Sharda said sudarshan kriya was a powerful energiser and cleanser while the knowledge discussed in the course presented life's deepest secrets in simple language. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had laid emphasis of five H-health, hygiene, home for homeless, harmony in diversity and human values.

Villages for rehabilitating tsunami-affected families had been adopted and volunteers were working there on specific projects.

Vyakti Vikas kendras in troubled areas of Bihar and UP too were doing well.

Expressing concern over the drug menace plaguing this region, Sharda said the foundation was exploring possibilities of organising drug de-addiction camps here.


Torture: Protesters seek doctor’s arrest
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 12
Protesters, including the relatives of one Harajinder Singh, son of a cop of Phagwara, held a demonstration and ransacked the Punjab Drugs-De-Addiction Centre, Goraya, in Phillaur subdivision on yesterday afternoon. The demonstrators alleged that Harajinder died on March 25 due to the inhuman attitude and torture given by doctors of the centre. They were demanding the immediate arrest of the doctor.

Meanwhile, five other youths under treatment managed to escape from the centre during the ransacking of the place. The youths went to the Goraya police station to demand the immediate arrest of the doctor.

At the Goraya police station, the youths including Surjit Ram(30) of Dhindsa, Vinay Kumar(35) of Kapurthala, Ashok Kumar(20) of Rahon, Pawan Kumar(50) of Tanda and Gurpreet(27) of Dharamkot told this correspondent in the presence of police officers, including ASI Raj Kumar and Shiv Sena, Phillaur, president Rajesh Sharma, that they were inhumanly treated by the doctor for the past two months.

One youth alleged that he was given electric shocks, while the others alleged that they were beaten up mercilessly by the doctor.

ASI Raj Kumar said the doctor had been taken into custody and the parents of the patients had been informed.

He said though an amicable settlement was made on March 25 between family members of the deceased Harjinder and the doctor.

At the Goraya police station,Dr Amandeep, in charge of the centre, denied the allegations levelled against him by the five youths and claimed that the parents of the youths knew the facts.


Passengers seek CM’s intervention
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 12
The Railway Passengers Association (North Zone) has urged the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to get all hurdles removed in the construction of the 42.5-km Abohar-Fazilka rail line. The delay caused a heavy loss to the exchequer, besides dissatisfaction for the passengers who had been excepting relief for past 20 years.

The association in a letter reminded Badal that he had presided over the foundation stone-laying function of the project by then Railway minister Nitish Kumar six years back and had claimed credit for getting the project sanctioned.

The Congress-led government in the state had received Rs 19. 20 crore for compensating the farmers affected by the acquisition of the land in this area, but the previous government had not been able to take possession of the government seed farmland here. This forced the Railways to defer the construction of base for the rail line in the 3.6-km stretch.


102 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 12
As many as 102 persons donated blood at a camp organised in the memory of journalist Bhola Nath Masoom by the Rajpura Press Club here today.

A team of doctors from Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, conducted the camp, which was inaugurated by the widow of the journalist Sarla Devi.

Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, while announcing a grant of Rs 51,000 for the club, assured that journalists’ demand for a plot of land for the construction of the club building would be considered soon.

Prominent among those present were Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Ghanaur MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur and club president Bahadur Singh.

Patiala: City Mission Hospital in collaboration with the district Red Cross Society organised a blood donation camp, here, today.

As many as 75 persons donated blood at the camp, which was inaugurated by Dr Jaswant Singh, DTO, Patiala.

Kuldeep Singh Sahni, who is running City Mission Hospital, said this hospital had always been eager to help poor patients.

A free medical camp was also organsied during the occasion and medicines had also been provided to poor patients free of cost.


Women block road

Sangrur, May 12
In a protest against the non-supply of drinking water to their houses, a number of women of the local Mandir Santoshi Mata Wali Gali, near Dhuri Gate, blocked the road in the main bazaar today afternoon.

The blockade continued till 7.45 pm. They raised slogans against the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) and demanded restoration of water supply to their houses immediately.

Due to the blockade in the main bazar for the past three days, the shopkeepers are facing hardships, as their business is affecting adversely. Besides this, common people are also facing problems. — TNS


Man drives car into shamiana; 15 hurt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
Around 15 Christian devotees were injured, two of them seriously, when a man, apparently learning to drive a car in a vacant ground at Issa Nagar, drove into a shamiana. The victims had gathered there for a religious programme.

Police sources said the man fled from the spot leaving the car behind. The injured were admitted to the CMC hospital.

The sources said it was just an accident and there was no evidence of ill-intention against the minority community.


Man ‘set on fire’ over land dispute
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
A dispute over the ownership of a piece of land in Bank Colony, Haibowal, took a grim turn when a middle-aged man, Rakesh Mohan, was allegedly set on fire by his neighbours late this evening.

Joginder Kaur, an elderly woman, mother of Kulwant Singh, also sustained burns when Rakesh, engulfed in flames, caught hold of her. However, Kulwant claimed before mediapersons that Rakesh had set himself on fire in his house.


BKU to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 12
The BKU Ekta (Ugrahan) will organise a state-level rally tomorrow at Fatehgarh Channa village to protest against the 376 acres of acquired land falling across the three villages of Fatehgarh Channa, Dhaula and Sanghera.


Industry seeks one-time settlement for sick units
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
Until and unless the sick units of Punjab were allowed the opportunity to settle their accounts under a one-time settlement scheme, the claims of saving the industry of the state would prove to be merely hollow.

Stating this in a press statement here yesterday, Narinder Kumar Jain, president, Amritsar Printers and Processors Association, said if Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was truly committed to the well-being of the Punjabis, he should immediately direct financial corporations to offer freedom from debt to their defaulter units under the one-time settlement scheme, so that they could be self-dependent again and become productive.


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